The life of slain Taliban governor Muzammil

Mohammad Daud Muzammil, the Taliban’s governor of Balkh province who was killed in a suicide bombing on Thursday had been a key member of the group and the most senior Taliban official to have been killed in Afghanistan since the group’s takeover.

In addition, Muzammil had been one of the most loyal Taliban commanders of the group’s supreme leader.

Muzammil: from Farah’s shadow governor to governing Balkh

Mohammad Daud Muzammil was born in Helmand province and named Nahri Saraj of Helmand province. He was married once and had four sons. It is not known if he had any daughters.

Muzammil was not a well-known figure during the Taliban rule in the 1990s but he fought the former Afghan government forces for two decades.

He belonged to the Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada’s Noorzai Tribe and that made him a close ally to Akhundzada.

“While, Daud Muzammil shared a network of drug trafficking to Iran with Akhtar Mansour, the former leader of the Taliban, he was closer to Mullah Haibatullah for ethnic reasons. Both of them belong to Noorzai [tribe],” said Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of Afghanistan’s national security directorate.

Nabil added that Muzammil was a key member of the Taliban’s Helmand council which was established by him and other prominent members of the group, including Sadr Ibrahim, Gul Agha Ishaqzai (Hidayatullah Badri), and Abdul Qayyum Zakir.

Muzammil used to work as the Taliban’s designated governor for Farah province before the collapse of the republic government.

A former senior military official told Amu TV that Muzammil was wounded during raids of former Afghan special forces in northern Sar-e-Pul province in 2022.

Abdul Satar Hussaini, a member of the former Afghan parliament, told Amu TV that Muzammil was appointed as Taliban’s designated governor for Farah in 2015 and fought against former Afghan security forces until 2017 in the province.

“Muzammil was the first who brought sniper rifles to Farah, he was a key member of the Taliban. He was a tyrant. I remember that he captured seven checkpoints on Highway No. 1 [of Farah] and martyred all the personnel over one night,” Hussaini added.

On the 24th of February 2022, Mohammad Daud Muzammil was appointed as senior security deputy of the Taliban’s interior minister. A senior former Afghan army official, familiar with the matter, told Amu TV that Muzammil was appointed as governor of Balkh after anti-Taliban resistance fronts emerged in northern provinces of Afghanistan several months ago.

Sibghatullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the National Resistance Front, told Amu TV that former Balkh governor Qudratullah Abu Hamza, a member of Haqqani Network, was dismissed by Taliban’s leader and replaced by  Muzammil.

The previous governor of the Taliban for Balkh, Qadratullah Abu Hamza, belonged to the Haqqani network and was dismissed by Mullah Hebatullah.

Abdul Satar Hussaini, meanwhile, claimed that Muzammil was a victim of the Taliban’s internal disputes. “Because the Haqqanis (Haqqani Network) have more influence than Mullah Haibatullah in the northern [provinces], the Haqqanis conspired and killed him,” Hussaini added.

Relationship with Iran

Meanwhile, reports recently emerged in media outlets about the close relationship between Daud Muzammil and the Iranian government.

Mohammad Sadeghi, acting head of the Iranian consulate in Jalalabad, had met with Muzammil, who was Nangarhar’s governor, on October 21, 2021, weeks after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Sadeghi also presented Muzammil with a gift during the meeting.

In addition, Iran was the first country to condemn Friday’s attack at Muzammil’s office in Balkh.

Daesh claimed responsibility

Hours after the attack, Daesh issued a statement published by the Amaq News website and claimed responsibility for the attack. The statement said that a Deash member Abdul Haq Khorasani had carried out the suicide attack inside the Taliban’s provincial compound.

Sami Yousafzai, a journalist living in Pakistan, who closely follows the internal developments of the Taliban, told Amu that Daud Muzammil had fought against Daesh in Nangarhar province in recent years.

Muzammil was the first Taliban governor and a key member of the group to be killed after they swept into power in 2021. Three weeks ago, Abdul Haq Abu Omar, the Taliban’s police commander for Badakhshan province was also killed in a blast in front of his office. Daesh also claimed responsibility for that attack.